The day the transfer window closes is one of my favorites of the season.
The Premier League is always built on narrative, fantasy, and hope, but for the last 24 hours of the window that telenovela goes into overdrive: every football fan believes in leprechauns, dodos, unicorns and a top four finish.
combine on a cliche-ridden day in which the terms:
“Come and get me plea”
“Waiting for the fax to come through”
“Dream come true to return to my boyhood club”
This is a day propelled by middle-aged English football journalists who shamelessly work themselves into a frenzy before a live worldwide audience, frantically working their phones to fill the dead air, even as nothing is happening.
A day of rumors and gossip in which the EPL Becomes TMZ - and Twitter comes alight with rumors Andrea Pirlo has been seen at Newcastle airport, or that someone’s brother’s hairdresser’s dad works security at Manchester and has just escorted Arturo Vidal into the stadium.
A day in which the driver side car window reigns, a mysterious camera angle allowing the interviewee to cloak their intentions rather than shed light on them.
When clusters of acne-ridden English youths linger outside of stadia late at night, surrounding reporters as they break news. Like villagers ready to storm a castle. Proof there are some corners of England in which the medieval ages have never ended.
A day of domino effects – when one move will suddenly trigger a spasm of others – some which will be season altering, some sure to stink more than Cool Water.
Random Brazilian superstars jet into Manchester never quite sure if they have just signed for United or City.
When an Instagram photograph of incoming players wearing their new club colors can send grown men and women into raptures.
Some teams will acquire the missing piece they need to put them over the top.
Others will sabotage themselves with desperate last minute panic buys.
Still others will have their heart ripped out of them by teams higher up the food chain.
Disaster hangs over every fan like a guillotine blade.
At the same time, the delusion the cavalry is about to arrive never leaves you – especially if you are a striker-deprived Arsenal fan.
And that is what makes it such a special day: 24 hours lived suspended between doom and hope, agony and delirium – the distilled essence of football fandom.